Lesson 019

Plural in Russian


Today we are talking about the Russian plurals. Like in English, to make a plural form from a Russian noun you need to modify its ending. Unlike in English, there are a few possible endings depending on the gender and the ending in singular form. Let’s see how it works:

Apart from some exceptions, all plural Russian nouns take one of four possible endings: -И, -Ы, -А or .

1. For the words (masculine, feminine and neuter) ending in К, Г, Х, Ш, Щ, Ж, Ч, Ь, Й or one of these letters + a vowel or => drop off the last vowel or and add .


нож – ножи́ (knives)
ключ – ключи́ (keys)
нога́ – но́ги (legs)
рука́ – ру́ки (hands)
ночь – но́чи (nights)
очко́ – очки́ (points, score)

Russian Pod 101

2. For the masculine nouns ending in a consonant => add :

нос – носы́ (noses)
телефо́н – телефо́ны (telephones)
стол – столы́ (tables)

3. For the neuter nouns:
– if the word ends in – replace it with
– if the word ends in -Ш/Щ/Ж/Ч/Ц + Е – replace with ,
– if the word ends in -O – replace it with

зда́ние – зда́ния (buildings)
ведро́ – вёдра́ (buckets)
солнц́е – со́лнца (suns)

4. For the feminine nouns:
– replace with
– replace with

голова́ – го́ловы (heads)
стена́ – сте́ны (walls)
ста́нция – ста́нции (station)
ба́ня – ба́ни (bathhouse)

Now you know how to form the Russian plurals. Practice the examples of today’s lesson with the audio track.

Disappearing vowels

Quite a few words in the Russian language lose a vowel in their stem when made plural or changed in cases (here we mean the grammatical cases that we will cover later). These words you will need to memorize. Here are some of them:

день – дни (days)
ры́нок – ры́нки (markets)
пода́рок – пода́рки (presents / gifts)
сон – сны (dreams)
замо́к – замки́ (locks)
оте́ц – отцы́ (fathers)

And this is it for this lesson. We hope you enjoy our Russian course for beginners. Stick with us, and we will gladly help you on your way to learn Russian!


More lessons on the Russian nouns

Spotted an error? Let us know please!

8 comments on “019 – Plural in Russian”

  1. Alexander H. Phillips says:

    I think one answer to Nzappazap is that like homonyms the only difference is in the spelling of the words. They both sound the same.

  2. NzappaZap says:

    ‘a’ and ‘o’ usually sound the same with vowel reduction, I thought. Do Russians have to tell the difference through context with some neuter nouns or is there an audible difference?

    1. NzappaZap says:

      I mean when spoken at a native pace.

      1. Learn Russian Step by Step says:

        Hello NzappaZap,

        To tell the truth I do not quite understand what you are asking about.

        In spoken language Russians just pronounce the words as they are used to do. They don’t need to think about what vowel is in the end of the words to change it accordingly.

        Is that what you meant?

        1. NzappaZap says:

          I guess I’m asking if there is an audible difference between зда́ние – зда́ния when spoken at a normal speed or between de’lo and de’la. Unstressed o/a and ye/ya at the end of a word seems very similar.

          1. Learn Russian Step by Step says:

            I see. No, there is no one.

            Although in some regions of Russia people tend to use more А (as in Moscow) while in others – О (Vologda).

  3. Edmund Yong says:

    so what about feminine words end with ‘я’ and ‘b’? remain the same?

    1. Learn Russian Step by Step says:

      For feminine nouns ending in Ь the first rule is used.

      For feminine nouns ending in Я, remove Я, add И.
      Thanks for noticing, the lesson will be completed.

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